Mike Discusses Ngo Dinh Diem with Dr Geoffrey Shaw
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “While all this is going on, there are some in the military-industrial complex, as Eisenhower called it, that saw U.S. intervention as inevitable and did what they had to do to make it happen. Part of the narrative of the book – by the by, folks, it’s Geoffrey Shaw, The Lost Mandate of Heaven: The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: While all this is going on, there are some in the military-industrial complex, as Eisenhower called it, that saw U.S. intervention as inevitable and did what they had to do to make it happen. Part of the narrative of the book – by the by, folks, it’s Geoffrey Shaw, The Lost Mandate of Heaven: The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam. The book is available at Amazon.com and other great booksellers. The narrative that comes out of the CBS Evening News, as you said, that had reporters over there and all this stuff, was that it was necessary, that Dinh Diem had to go, that he was corrupt and a tyrant, that he was standing in the way of the effort to try to beat back communism, and he was on the take and all this other stuff here.
Geoffrey Shaw: That narrative is pretty much 180 degrees wrong. What’s ironic is, after he’d been murdered, there was a very good U.S. reporter out there who knew Southeast Asia and knew a lot of stuff about it, that the idea of him persecuting Buddhists was insane because this was the man who’d rebuilt Buddhism. She buttonholed – her name was Maggie Higgins, Margaret Higgins. She wrote a great book called Our Vietnam Nightmare. She buttonholed Halberstam and said: I guess you’re really happy with what you’ve done now. She said: You know there was no persecution here. He said: Well, we never said there was. We always argued that it was political, which was an absolute lie. The lying that began there in the media was incredible. These boys built and got themselves Pulitzer prizes out of what they did there. That’s a whole other story.
The problem is, no, he was none of those things. He was honored and revered in the – this is a man – think about it. What corrupt dictators do you know that get up every morning at 6:30 and go to mass every day? Who would do the most when he stayed at the Maryknoll Seminary in New York just before he went back to be president. He was being honored by Kennedy then. He got to know Cardinal Francis Spellman and a very powerful senator, Mike Mansfield. They came out and saw him and they were amazed. Here was a guy, he would take out the garbage, wash the floors, clean the latrines at the Maryknoll Seminary. This had been the premier of South Vietnam, soon-to-be president. This guy had no – it was an absolute fabrication. There was nothing corrupt about him. As a Buddhist general said to me, he was absolutely adamant on this. Why Diem had this mandate of heaven is because he was morally pure. Those that brought him down weren’t so morally pure.
Mike: This is just an incredible story. Part of the sub-narrative here is that this made the war that much longer and that much worse. You say you had the revolving door, the coup of the week, the coup of the year as the actual corrupt tyrants then rose to power. How did this make the Vietnam War that much worse?
Shaw: With the death of Diem – and just as the British counterinsurgency expert who had been brought in there argued, with the death of Diem, the really effective programs against the communists, which was the strategic handlers program, died. In order to justify themselves, the coup guys had to throw all the good officials in all the programs Diem was doing, which was exactly predicted and exactly what happened. The communists started to make vast inroads again. In fact, that’s why if the U.S. hadn’t moved in with military force in ’65, it would have fallen. It may have even fallen in ’64. Everything has been undermined and tossed into the bin.
Mike: I want people to understand what happened here and why it matters today. It mattered then and it matters today. We just heard Mr. Shaw say and just lay out briefly the narrative, which you can read all about in the book The Lost Mandate of Heaven. It’s the same thing with Islam, which is what we’ve been talking about here on this show for the last couple of years, and certainly in earnest the last couple of months, more so because of recent events. It’s the same thing with Islam. You can’t replace something with nothing. You can’t oppose something with nothing. The First Amendment, free speech, Charlie Hebdo, and San Fernando Valley porn is not an antidote to Islam.
Mike: It’s much the same as: We’re opposed to communists in South Vietnam. Why? With what? What are you armed with? They were armed – at the time that Ngo Dinh Diem was president, they were armed with the philosophy of peace and Buddhism and the faith of Roman Catholicism. Catholicism, unlike the rumors that so many love to scandalously, the libel and all the lies they like to spread about Hitler’s Pope and Stalin’s Pope and the Church never stood up to communism and all that. It’s just complete fabrications here. Dinh Diem then stood as and provided the people of South Vietnam with something that they actually could oppose communism with, something that communism loathed and Catholicism, and I guess the philosophy of Buddhism, loathed communism equally as much as communism loathed Catholicism and Buddhism. At least you had something to oppose it with. In the absence of the something, you get chaos. That’s what we have today. That’s what’s going to happen if you try – if you think that the First Amendment, Charlie Hebdo, and porn is good enough to beat back Islam, you’ll be speaking Farsi.
Shaw: I actually agree with you 100 percent. You have to have something to oppose these things. There’s a vacuum. Militant Islam is trying to fill that vacuum. The only way we can fight that is to return to our Christian roots.
Mike: So the lesson of South Vietnam is just that, it is a lesson.
Shaw: Yes. And Diem had that. I shouldn’t underplay – the thing with Catholicism there, too, is it actually provided a solid education. He did use a lot of Catholics in his government because they were so well educated, and, of course, they were opposed to communism. Why would you ignore such a cadre? You’d be nuts to. He had that. They had that solid Christian faith. As you pointed out, we need that again or we’re in big trouble.
Mike: If someone rises and provides that, and there’s a very good chance that they’ll meet the same fate as Dinh Diem, as Father Pro in Mexico as the Cristeros meted out against the Catholics in Mexico, as Garcia, the president of Ecuador who was murdered, who was assassinated because people were too happy and peaceful and we can’t have a Christian foundation for our rule. It’s getting the order correct, which is the law of God over the law of man. That’s the point. That’s why when I got the book and I started thumbing through it – a friend of mine came by who’s a fellow Latin Mass-goer with me. He goes: Hey, where’d you get that from? He knew the story. His dad had told him the story. His dad was in Vietnam. He knew part of the story. He knew who Dinh Diem was. He certainly knew about his religious background. He probably skimmed half of your book in half a day. He said: Mike, you’ve got to have Shaw on. We reached out, and I’m glad that we did.
The book is The Lost Mandate of Heaven: The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam, Geoffrey Shaw is the author. Geoffrey, how did President Diem meet his end? How was he assassinated? What’s the narrative of that? What’s the setup and how did it . . .
Shaw: It was very, very unhappy. By the way, you can go to YouTube anytime and see that they say mass at his grave every year. There’s a memorial. Vietnamese Catholics see him as a martyr and want him acknowledged as a martyr by the Church. He really should be. Of course, I’m not a pope. I can’t say who should be acknowledged as a martyr or not, but you get my point. He and his brother, they had escaped the palace through a tunnel while the artillery and bullets were flying in all directions from this mutinous army coup supported by the U.S. Embassy, unfortunately. They got to a church over in Saigon. They had been praying in the church, and then they had been outside in the grotto of Holy Mary. At that time, troops pulled up in an American M113 armored personnel carrier. They were going to take them to – they said: We’ll take you to safety and get you to the airport. Once they were in there, Minh’s personal hit men started screaming at them. I know this from General Khanh. He had seen and heard from other people about how Minh had ordered this particular fellow to kill Diem. He attacked them with a knife and cut out their gallbladders while they were alive. In Asian, understanding the seat of a man’s soul is in his gallbladder. It was a horrible thing. Then they shot them. It was just savage.
I remember when I talked to General Khanh about this down in – I interviewed down at the Special Forces base at Hurlburt Field. He still couldn’t get over it. He just kept going: It was tres savage. In his Parisian French he said: It was horrible. That’s what happened. Then they tried to sell it to the Western news media that it was accidental suicide. Even those Americans who supported the coup said: You better think of something else. This was a devout Roman Catholic. They don’t commit accidental suicide.
Mike: And they don’t cut their gallbladders out.
Shaw: They don’t perform surgery on themselves and then shoot themselves.
Mike: Perform surgery on themselves in homage of a heresy, which I assume the Western, whatever the right is that says you cut your gallbladder out because that’s the seat of the soul. That sounds kind of heretical to me. For someone that’s orthodox, I doubt that that’s the way they go out.
Shaw: I don’t think so.
Mike: I think many people will look forward to getting the book and to reading it. I’ve already learned so much about this unfortunate epoch in American history. Someone that’s already jaded like me, it just turns me from glowing jade to dingy jade. I’m glowing jade at the beginning of the day, and then I hear something like this, learn something like this, and I become dingy jade.
Shaw: It’s hard not to, believe me.
Mike: The tragedy of it is no lesson has been learned. It’s still happening today. It could happen tomorrow.
Shaw: This is what I’ve said. This is the real lesson of this book, that this murderous way of doing foreign policy by, namely – it is an activist liberal outlook that got set in stone within the U.S. State Department. No lessons have been learned. They keep making the same darn mistake over and over again. It’s based, I suppose in the end, on their atheistic, humanist outlook that we can make heaven here on earth if only we all sing Kumbaya and get along and have multiculturalism, and all cultures are the same, of equal value. The head hunters of Borneo have as much to offer as the Church. It’s just nonsense.
End Mike Church Show Transcript